I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
starting a business
get more traffic
running a business
make more sales
growing a business
mindset & productivity
pricing & money
selling on etsy
selling on amazon
Why do I run so many businesses?
I recently heard about how some people are criticizing me for having multiple businesses. The thought is that if any one of my businesses was successful enough, why do I need to have more than one?
Or people are assuming that my handmade jewelry business is not very successful and because of that, I started my coaching business Creative Hive. In this video, I’m going to share with you why and why you might even want to consider this for yourself in the future with your own handmade business, self-employed lifestyle.
So, I’m writing this post for you in part because I want to explain why and also because I think this critique raises a really important point that it seems like not very many people understand.
For those of you who are new to my site, my very first business is called Tiny Hands where I sell scented food jewelry. I’ve been running that for 14 years now at the time of this writing. Then in 2014 I started Creative Hive and about three years ago I started acting, which in itself I would definitely consider a business as well.
I have to fill in my own schedule C for my acting income and I definitely also have a lot of expenses that come along with it like acting classes, getting headshots done with a photographer, and so on.
Finally my husband and I also started a new online website where we sell print on demand, personalized art for the family. We only just started this a few months ago and it’s already made six figures in sales.
I currently have four businesses that I run and I’m always looking for the next thing to start. I was actually thinking the other day of starting a marketplace site similar to Etsy but keeping it very small and focused with a theme. I would get together some artists that I really respect to sell their products on the site and I just handle all of the marketing and promotion.
Anyway, it’s just an idea for now and I’m not making any promises or big plans yet.
My husband and I also rent out our home to film production companies so they can produce movies and commercials.
The biggest and most important reason why I run so many different businesses at once is because of diversification.
When you’re working for someone else at a regular 9-to-5 office job, you get the huge benefit of getting paid a salary. Every two weeks you get paid a certain amount and that never changes. That’s a predictable income.
Unfortunately, when you’re self-employed and running your own business you don’t have that luxury. As a small business owner, you are solely responsible for making sales and finding customers. How much money you make and the income you bring in from your business is solely and completely dependent on you.
Another super challenging aspect of running a business is you can’t predict when a customer is going to buy from you. Even if you’re an established business, you will inevitably experience slow months with fewer sales and really good ones with great sales.
Over time you will become familiar with which months those are for your business.
For most of us selling handmade products, we usually do as many sales in the fourth quarter of the year as the entire first three quarters. That’s because most shopping happens over the holiday season when people are buying gifts.
This is exactly why a lot of people call running a business like a roller coaster. There are lots of ups and downs and there’s very little predictability.
But predictability and being able to make a consistent income is something that a lot of makers crave. There are a few ways to do that such as:
But another really great way of doing that is simply to diversify your income streams. You can diversify within your business or outside of it.
An example of diversifying within your business is not putting all your eggs in just one basket. A lot of people put all their eggs in the Etsy basket, and so the problem is when Etsy changes their algorithm and it impacts you negatively, then you’re stuck and you feel the pain so much more because you have no other option.
How I diversified within my handmade business is I have many different streams of income.
When your business is diversified you’ll experience less of a roller coaster in your business and you can make a much more predictable, reliable income.
It’s amazing because it takes a lot of the stress away from running a business. This is because when certain income streams are experiencing lower sales, it’s likely that other income streams are doing better, so it evens itself out.
For me, when wholesale orders are doing really, that’s usually around summertime because people are out and about and shopping in actual physical stores and spending less time at home shopping online. In my experience physical stores like to stock up on products over the summer for that reason.
But summertime sales for my online side is a lot slower than the holiday season.
Overall my income isn’t affected by the constant ebb and flow because of this diversification.
Diversification outside of your business is having different income streams beyond your single business.
For example with Creative Hive, I usually don’t get an influx of sales for the holiday season but I do really well in the first half of the year. That’s ok because Tiny Hands does really well in the last quarter of the year so it works itself out.
It’s just like if you were investing in the stock market, financial experts will tell you that diversification in your portfolio is super important. It will certainly take you time to build out that diversification, and honestly my husband and I are still working on it. It’s taken us 10 years to get to where we are now and we’re still constantly thinking of ways to build our wealth and invest our money in different ways.
For example my husband is experimenting with bitcoin, and we’ve been talking about getting into real estate as well as possibly offering private loans to other small businesses to help kickstart their projects.
Diversification is what will make you recession and pandemic proof.
Having said all of that, if you’re a creative person like me, you’ll know that creative people are often multi-passionate and enjoy doing a lot of different things.
I’ve always been that way. I always like challenging myself with the next thing and that gives me a lot of fulfillment personally.
I was always very competitive, even when I was little, and I get a really great sense of achievement when I can do something well.
I don’t know if you guys have ever done the Strengths Finder Test which tells you what your top five strengths are, but one of my top five is achiever. That’s just something that really drives me as a person and at my core.
It can be a double-edge sword because sometimes I don’t know when to stop trying to achieve something and that can really stress me out.
I think that’s why when I am “done with making one business successful” I get excited to think about the next business I get to start.
I’ve actually met a lot of other creatives like that, where you’re not just a jeweler, but you’re also a painter and a musician. I think that’s what defines creative people, is that you’re not just creative in one facet but with multiple different things in your life.
Then the challenge that most creatives with multiple passions have is they’re trying to start one business that encompasses all of those passions and that’s not always the best idea.
So I could have just one business selling all the different products and services I sell, but it probably will not go so well.
I’m not going to go too deeply into when it would make sense for you to have a separate second shop since that’s outside the scope of this post, but if you’re interested to know that, leave me a comment below and I’ll make a post for that in the future.
If anything, having multiple businesses is super fun for me. I enjoy it and I love the variety and the different things I get to work on every day.
I understand some people prefer having a routine in their day-to-day life and that brings them comfort and I’m like that to a certain extent, but I also really value a little bit more variety in my life.
If you listen to or follow Tony Robbins, you know he talks about the concept of the six human needs, which include
It’s just a basic human desire to want to have a little bit of spice in your life.
My husband and I, we don’t drink, do drugs, party, we’re not thrill-seekers, but this, running different businesses is itself interesting, challenging, fun, and ultimately, very fulfilling.
I mean, a person likes what a person likes right? We’re all entitled to enjoy and appreciate what we do and it seems absurd to me that someone else would criticize you for what you choose to love.
I may not share your opinion of something, but I can at least acknowledge, respect, and accept that.
So, if you don’t have any diversification in your business and life right now, that’s ok. This isn’t something that you learn about in school and I doubt most parents are teaching this to their kids.
Diversification is something you really only see the benefits of over the long term because each new stream of income you establish will take time for you to create any meaningful amount of money. But as long as you’re thinking about it now and you’re aware that this is something you need to do eventually, you will start to make plans and design your future with the goal of diversifying your income streams.
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This workshop is for anyone who makes and sells a handmade or physical product, including jewelry designers, artists, paper designers, bath & body product makers and more!
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